January 27, 2019

The Donkey’s Rebuke – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?’…The donkey said to Balaam, “Am not I your donkey that you have ridden ever since I was yours until this day? Have I ever attempted to treat you this way?” And he said, ‘No.’” (Numbers 22:28-30)

This tale of a donkey talking has long been the object of ridicule by skeptics. Elitist, liberal theologians assure us the story is an allegory or fable. We know that it is not, rather, a real historical event for several reasons. It is confirmed, both by inspiration through the apostle Peter and by Archeology.

“forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.” (II Peter 2:15-16)

For those who truly believe the Bible, this is sufficient. More and more of today’s society do not believe the Bible is God’s word (as was the case in the New Testament world). Following the example of the prophets and Apostles, we need to learn to teach these people. Both in the Old and the New Testaments, the wonders of creation (Isaiah 40:26-27; Romans 1:20) and supernatural power were effectively used to persuade precious souls to believe. (I Kings 17:22:24; 18:19-39; II Kings 5:8-17; John 4:39: 11:42-45; John 20:8-9; Acts 17:28; 14:17; Romans 1:4) Those who insist contentiously, that only the Bible may be used to persuade, are woefully ignorant of Biblical methodology and would effectively tie one hand behind our backs as we seek to seek and save the lost.

Obviously, there is no naturalistic explanation for a donkey speaking with the voice of a man. When we find confirmation, we are demonstrating that supernatural powers were necessarily involved.

I was personally involved, in a small way, with an ongoing excavation at Deir Alla, Jordan, originally discovered in1967. The dig has revealed eighth century BC artifacts that document the activities of a prophet named Balaam. Three times in the first four lines he is referred to as “Balaam son of Beor,” exactly as in the Bible. The complete inscription consists of 119 fragments of plaster inscribed with black and red ink. It clearly describes the vision of Balaam son of Beor, a “seer of the gods,” described in in Numbers 22–24. (I have displayed in our museum, a certified replica of this critical fragment. DRP)

This dramatic confirmation does not come from the Israelites, who one might imagine would be tempted to embellish. It is from the antagonistic witness of the Amorites, their enemies. Amazingly, this Amorite inscription refers to God as “el” and “Shaddai” which is exactly the term often used to refer to God during the period before Moses. (Balaam Son of Beor, Bible and Spade, Bryant G. Wood, p114, 1995)

Archaeology is an important science that continually strengthens our faith in the historical accuracy of the Bible. Since the Bible refers to hundreds of cities, kings, and places, we would expect to find evidence from on-site excavations. Ninety-seven percent of all cities mentioned in the Bible have been found. (Zero percent of cities peculiar to the Book Of Mormon have been found.) The Bible is the most historically accurate book of history on earth.

We have extra-Biblical, tangible archeological evidence that God intervened supernaturally in the affairs of the nation of Israel (for our benefit, Romans 4:23) and that the record we have of these amazing events actually happened.

This divine record tells us that Balaam blessed Israel, instead of pronouncing the curse for which he was to have been paid by the Moabites, who were desperately trying to keep God’s people out of the Promised Land. The Moabites needed an unforgettable rebuke. They were apostate descendants of Lot, who had known the true God (Numbers 25:1-3) but were determined to thwart God’s purposes.

Consider also that this account demonstrates that God is concerned about His animal creation, caring even for every sparrow. (Matthew 10:29). The animals have been placed under man’s dominion, but they are for his service, his instruction, and his enjoyment—not for his abuse.

Thus, Balaam’s donkey was supernaturally enabled by God to rebuke not only Balaam but also anyone who would unnecessarily abuse one of His specially and beautifully designed animal subjects.

 

 

 

 

 

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